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The exterior of a restaurant with black frames with a window surrounded by green ivy.
Armitage Alehouse is open in Lincoln Park
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

The Hottest New Restaurants in Chicago, November 2021

Hot chicken, Trini doubles, and the new pub from Au Cheval’s owners make up the latest update

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Armitage Alehouse is open in Lincoln Park
| Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

It’s the start of holiday season in Chicago. And while turkey and stuffing are en vogue, the city’s restaurants have plenty to offer for those who want to avoid the typical spreads. New restaurants are a great way to escape the doldrums. And with that it’s time for the latest edition of Eater Chicago’s Heatmap.

The list includes five new members: the return of a ‘50s faux diner, the latest from Au Cheval’s owners, a Trinidad restaurant’s comeback, an LA hot chicken import, and Bucktown’s fine dining restaurant and bar. Cheers to the end of 2021.

As of August 20, the city has mandated that everyone wear facial coverings while indoors. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Esmé

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2200 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614

Esmé is a welcome addition to Lincoln Park, where chef Jenner Tomaska and wife Katrina Bravo give fine dining a sorely needed overhaul. Tomaska, who worked for Next, Alinea Group’s rotating restaurant, is artfully churning out dishes like salt baked sable, salmon with spring pears in “ranch whey,” and carrot dauphine are part of the $185 coursed-out meal. Reservations are mandatory.

Lips- Wagyu éclair, salted strawberries, pine, parsnip Esmé/Sandy Noto

2. Lardon

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2200 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 697-4444
Visit Website

This long awaited Logan Square cafe focuses on charcuterie and sandwiches. It’s been a smash hit since opening, drawing crowds morning, afternoon, and evening. The restaurant, the first joint effort from chef Christopher Thompson (Coda di Volpe) and Steve Lewis (Centennial Crafted Brewing), is a casual affair with a rustic European Old World feel. There’s a deep wine list and the cheese boards will keep guests coming back for more.

A hand holding thin-cut meat that came out of a red deli slicer.
Lardon has the meats.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

3. Bloom Plant Based Kitchen

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1559 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 363-3110
Visit Website

Former Carnivale chef Rodolfo Cuadros has seen his cooking evolve. His successful Bucktown restaurant, Amaru, continues to delight, but during the pandemic he needed new ways to make money to help his business survive. He and his family had already drastically cut their meat intake at home, and so Cuadros turned to a virtual vegan restaurant for salvation. He’s now expanded that concept into a standalone restaurant in Wicker Park with a full bar and a vegan cheese plate that’s become a crowd pleaser.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

4. Wazwan and Aman

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1742 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 697-8794
Visit Website

Zubair Mohajir and his crew have been hustling for years with a food hall stall, pop-ups, and a virtual restaurant. Mohajir has worked at fine dining restaurants (like the world-famous Gaggan in Bangkok), and his applied a refined touch to South Asian street food. Find momos, burgers, fried chicken, biryani, and more at Wazwan’s latest incarnation. This is an appetizer for a more formal experience when Mohajir’s West Town restaurant, Aman, opens in time for Diwali.

5. Adalina

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912 N State St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 820-9000
Visit Website

This ritzy Gold Coast Italian restaurant has brought back some sorely needed energy to downtown. Chef Soo Ahn (Band of Bohemia) has created a balanced menu where there’s plenty to feast on for vegetarians and omnivores. Find handmade pastas, decadent steaks befitting a Chicago chop house, and more.

6. Rose Mary

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932 W Fulton St
Chicago, IL 60607
(872) 260-3921
Visit Website

Joe Flamm’s dream is finally here, as the the former Spiaggia chef and Top Chef winner opened his first restaurant alongside the owners of flashy West Loop steakhouse BLVD. Flamm merges his prowess with handmade Italian pastas and Croatian techniques blending Old and New Worlds to create something unique. Reservations are recommended, because this might the most difficult table in town.

Rose Mary’s lamb shoulder.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

7. Oriole

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661 W Walnut St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 877-5339
Visit Website

One of the country’s best fine dining restaurants, Oriole reopened in July and was quickly booked for the coming months. During the pandemic, Noah and Cara Sandoval, the chef and co-owner, transformed their two-Michelin-starred restaurant, revamping and modernizing the interiors. But the tasting menu format remains. Expect impeccable service and a come-as-you-are environment that allows diners of all backgrounds to enjoy the experience. Reservations are scarce.

An open kitchen inside a restaurant. Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

8. BRUNCH N BURGERS CHICAGO

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2255 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 285-2965
Visit Website

As the Trib reports, Erica McGhee is known as the Burger Queen as she shows no fear in stacking smashed beef patties with decadent toppings. Beyond burgers, customers can find stellar mac and cheese, a sloppy joe, and chilaquiles. McGhee is looking to expand her menu soon, so it will be cool to see how this all-day brunch spot grows.

9. Kitchen + Kocktails Chicago

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444 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 659-1951
Visit Website

This is the second location of a Dallas restaurant that combines a trendy dining room with spaces that beg customers to make Instagram posts and upscale comfort food. It’s a genre that modernizes Southern cuisine popularized by Black America. Owner Kevin Kelley wants his new restaurant to complement Chicago’s dining scene, to be a celebratory place where diners nosh on huge chops drizzled with Asian Hennessy glaze and a cornucopia of chicken and waffle options. There’s also creative cocktails and a lounge. Reservations are recommended.

A wide open dining room with wooden floors, a bright mural and a chandelier. Photo was taken at night.
The former Benny’s Chop House is reborn in River North.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

10. Urbanspace

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15 W Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602

Food halls aren’t a passing fad, even during a pandemic. Urbanspace is a collection of 12 stalls and a bar (there’s room for 20 restaurants) with a mix of local favorites (Happy Lobster, Edzo’s Burger Shop, Budlong, Isla Pilipina) and imports (Roberta’s Pizza, Plant Junkie, Pita Yeero). Toss in some new concepts (Bianca’s BBQ, Bhoomi) and this is a formidable spot for Loop dining.

A round, thin crust pizza cheese and pepperoni.
Roberta’s Pizza is finally here in Chicago.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

11. Solazo

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5600 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60629
(773) 627-5047
Visit Website

This is the rebirth of a family-owned Mexican restaurant in Archer Heights, near Midway International Airport. Solazo’s ownership learned a few lessons when it opened La Josie along Randolph Restaurant Row in West Loop. They’ve applied those lessons at their original restaurant without sacrificing the neighborhood feel. The tacos, queso, and other items have never tasted better, but now customers can enjoy amped up cocktails.

Two meat tacos on a plate
Solazo’s tacos are back.
Solazo

12. Alla Vita

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564 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 667-0104
Visit Website

Boka Restaurant Group strikes again the West Loop with Alla Vita, its jack of all trades Italian restaurant with pastas and pizzas aimed to please a diverse audience of families, couples, and tourists along Randolph Street. The former Bellemore gets a facelift with plants, a wine installation, and a sleeker design. Reservations are recommended.

A large wooden table laid with lots of Italian dishes
Alla Vita is the latest Boka hit.
Alla Vita/Galdones Photography

13. Bocadillo Market

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2342 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 857-0331
Visit Website

This Spanish all-day restaurant from D.C. native James Martin is a sleeper hit in Lincoln Park. The former A10 chef features a morning menu with coffee and pastries. The all-day menu, ideal for lunch, focuses on bocadillos, the elusive Spanish small sandwiches that haven’t quite caught on in Chicago. Find smoked lamb, fried calamari, and jamon Serrano options. The dinner menu includes heavy hitters like paella and tapas favorites like patatas bravas, and non-traditional items like foie gras with berry and beet jam.

14. Armitage Alehouse

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1000 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 270-6402
Visit Website

Not many in Lincoln Park expected a London-style Anglo-Indian pub from the owners of Au Cheval. But after months of not saying a thing, Hogsalt Hospitality opened Armitage Alehouse featuring British-style curries, savory pot pies, and Guinness and Harp at the bar. English pubs are known for being casual, allowing patrons to drop in and out at their leisure. At the sleek and dark Armitage Alehouse, customers will need luck to grab a reservation.

The exterior of a restaurant with black frames with a window surrounded by green ivy.
Armitage Alehouse
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

15. Ed Debevic's

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159 E Ohio St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 374-8499
Visit Website

Chicago can eat at Ed’s once more. After their longtime home in River North was razed to make way for a new development, the sometimes tacky — yet nostalgic — Ed Debevic’s searched for a new home. Owners found one in Streeterville. Find the same faux ‘50s vibe with sassy servers throwing out their retro shtick. Burgers, shakes, and breakfast return for the ride.

blue and white striped diner booths in the foreground in front of a yellow wall with a pink neon sign that reads “Eat at Ed’s”
Ed’s is back.
Aimee Levitt/Eater Chicago

16. Cafe Trinidad ToGo

Copy Link
2537 S Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

Doubles, a Trini delicacy, are featured at Cafe Trinidad ToGo, the return of a Grand Crossing restaurant that closed in 2016. The island cuisine sees many influence, including African, Syrian, and Indian — all byproducts of colonization and slavery. Powered by a Caribbean version of roti, doubles are filled with chickpeas, potatoes, or goat and lamb curry, a sweeter version than most would expect. Cafe Trinidad’s return gives Chicagoans a delicious option for this vital dish. The Reader’s Mike Sula has more.

17. Dave's Hot Chicken

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3643 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 754-1555
Visit Website

Sure, Chicago has dozens of great fried chicken providers. But Dave’s Hot Chicken, just across Lane Tech High School in Roscoe Village, is special. This LA-based fast-casual restaurant serves spicy chicken tenders from no heat to reaper. The tenders are tasty and plump. Students crowd the restaurant until the 10 p.m. shutter and with good reason. For its first location in the city proper, Dave’s and its celeb investors are welcome additions.

A plate of spicy-looking hot chicken sandwiches
Dave’s Hot Chicken
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

18. CLAUDIA

Copy Link
1952 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 697-9486
Visit Website

Claudia, the fine dining restaurant in Bucktown from chef Trevor Teich, is the culmination for years of searching for a permanent home for his pop-up. The storied space, where chefs like Stephanie Izard and Takashi Yagihashi cooked, has been revamped. The main dining room is where Teich’s playful tasting menu is served. On the first floor, toward the rear of the building, the bar sits with a range of items from lobster pot pie, dry-aged steak, and a fantastic wine list. While it’s more casual than upstairs, it doesn’t represent compromise.

a marble bar with chairs and bottles of booze
Claudia’s bar has full service.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

1. Esmé

2200 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
Lips- Wagyu éclair, salted strawberries, pine, parsnip Esmé/Sandy Noto

Esmé is a welcome addition to Lincoln Park, where chef Jenner Tomaska and wife Katrina Bravo give fine dining a sorely needed overhaul. Tomaska, who worked for Next, Alinea Group’s rotating restaurant, is artfully churning out dishes like salt baked sable, salmon with spring pears in “ranch whey,” and carrot dauphine are part of the $185 coursed-out meal. Reservations are mandatory.

2200 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614

2. Lardon

2200 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
A hand holding thin-cut meat that came out of a red deli slicer.
Lardon has the meats.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

This long awaited Logan Square cafe focuses on charcuterie and sandwiches. It’s been a smash hit since opening, drawing crowds morning, afternoon, and evening. The restaurant, the first joint effort from chef Christopher Thompson (Coda di Volpe) and Steve Lewis (Centennial Crafted Brewing), is a casual affair with a rustic European Old World feel. There’s a deep wine list and the cheese boards will keep guests coming back for more.

2200 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

3. Bloom Plant Based Kitchen

1559 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Former Carnivale chef Rodolfo Cuadros has seen his cooking evolve. His successful Bucktown restaurant, Amaru, continues to delight, but during the pandemic he needed new ways to make money to help his business survive. He and his family had already drastically cut their meat intake at home, and so Cuadros turned to a virtual vegan restaurant for salvation. He’s now expanded that concept into a standalone restaurant in Wicker Park with a full bar and a vegan cheese plate that’s become a crowd pleaser.

1559 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

4. Wazwan and Aman

1742 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

Zubair Mohajir and his crew have been hustling for years with a food hall stall, pop-ups, and a virtual restaurant. Mohajir has worked at fine dining restaurants (like the world-famous Gaggan in Bangkok), and his applied a refined touch to South Asian street food. Find momos, burgers, fried chicken, biryani, and more at Wazwan’s latest incarnation. This is an appetizer for a more formal experience when Mohajir’s West Town restaurant, Aman, opens in time for Diwali.

1742 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622

5. Adalina

912 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610

This ritzy Gold Coast Italian restaurant has brought back some sorely needed energy to downtown. Chef Soo Ahn (Band of Bohemia) has created a balanced menu where there’s plenty to feast on for vegetarians and omnivores. Find handmade pastas, decadent steaks befitting a Chicago chop house, and more.

912 N State St
Chicago, IL 60610

6. Rose Mary

932 W Fulton St, Chicago, IL 60607
Rose Mary’s lamb shoulder.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Joe Flamm’s dream is finally here, as the the former Spiaggia chef and Top Chef winner opened his first restaurant alongside the owners of flashy West Loop steakhouse BLVD. Flamm merges his prowess with handmade Italian pastas and Croatian techniques blending Old and New Worlds to create something unique. Reservations are recommended, because this might the most difficult table in town.

932 W Fulton St
Chicago, IL 60607

7. Oriole

661 W Walnut St, Chicago, IL 60661
An open kitchen inside a restaurant. Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

One of the country’s best fine dining restaurants, Oriole reopened in July and was quickly booked for the coming months. During the pandemic, Noah and Cara Sandoval, the chef and co-owner, transformed their two-Michelin-starred restaurant, revamping and modernizing the interiors. But the tasting menu format remains. Expect impeccable service and a come-as-you-are environment that allows diners of all backgrounds to enjoy the experience. Reservations are scarce.

661 W Walnut St
Chicago, IL 60661

8. BRUNCH N BURGERS CHICAGO

2255 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60612

As the Trib reports, Erica McGhee is known as the Burger Queen as she shows no fear in stacking smashed beef patties with decadent toppings. Beyond burgers, customers can find stellar mac and cheese, a sloppy joe, and chilaquiles. McGhee is looking to expand her menu soon, so it will be cool to see how this all-day brunch spot grows.

2255 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60612

9. Kitchen + Kocktails Chicago

444 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
A wide open dining room with wooden floors, a bright mural and a chandelier. Photo was taken at night.
The former Benny’s Chop House is reborn in River North.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

This is the second location of a Dallas restaurant that combines a trendy dining room with spaces that beg customers to make Instagram posts and upscale comfort food. It’s a genre that modernizes Southern cuisine popularized by Black America. Owner Kevin Kelley wants his new restaurant to complement Chicago’s dining scene, to be a celebratory place where diners nosh on huge chops drizzled with Asian Hennessy glaze and a cornucopia of chicken and waffle options. There’s also creative cocktails and a lounge. Reservations are recommended.

444 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

10. Urbanspace

15 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602
A round, thin crust pizza cheese and pepperoni.
Roberta’s Pizza is finally here in Chicago.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Food halls aren’t a passing fad, even during a pandemic. Urbanspace is a collection of 12 stalls and a bar (there’s room for 20 restaurants) with a mix of local favorites (Happy Lobster, Edzo’s Burger Shop, Budlong, Isla Pilipina) and imports (Roberta’s Pizza, Plant Junkie, Pita Yeero). Toss in some new concepts (Bianca’s BBQ, Bhoomi) and this is a formidable spot for Loop dining.

15 W Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602

11. Solazo

5600 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60629
Two meat tacos on a plate
Solazo’s tacos are back.
Solazo

This is the rebirth of a family-owned Mexican restaurant in Archer Heights, near Midway International Airport. Solazo’s ownership learned a few lessons when it opened La Josie along Randolph Restaurant Row in West Loop. They’ve applied those lessons at their original restaurant without sacrificing the neighborhood feel. The tacos, queso, and other items have never tasted better, but now customers can enjoy amped up cocktails.

5600 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60629

12. Alla Vita

564 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661
A large wooden table laid with lots of Italian dishes
Alla Vita is the latest Boka hit.
Alla Vita/Galdones Photography

Boka Restaurant Group strikes again the West Loop with Alla Vita, its jack of all trades Italian restaurant with pastas and pizzas aimed to please a diverse audience of families, couples, and tourists along Randolph Street. The former Bellemore gets a facelift with plants, a wine installation, and a sleeker design. Reservations are recommended.

564 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661

13. Bocadillo Market

2342 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

This Spanish all-day restaurant from D.C. native James Martin is a sleeper hit in Lincoln Park. The former A10 chef features a morning menu with coffee and pastries. The all-day menu, ideal for lunch, focuses on bocadillos, the elusive Spanish small sandwiches that haven’t quite caught on in Chicago. Find smoked lamb, fried calamari, and jamon Serrano options. The dinner menu includes heavy hitters like paella and tapas favorites like patatas bravas, and non-traditional items like foie gras with berry and beet jam.

2342 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614

14. Armitage Alehouse

1000 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
The exterior of a restaurant with black frames with a window surrounded by green ivy.
Armitage Alehouse
Ashok Selvam/Eater Chicago

Not many in Lincoln Park expected a London-style Anglo-Indian pub from the owners of Au Cheval. But after months of not saying a thing, Hogsalt Hospitality opened Armitage Alehouse featuring British-style curries, savory pot pies, and Guinness and Harp at the bar. English pubs are known for being casual, allowing patrons to drop in and out at their leisure. At the sleek and dark Armitage Alehouse, customers will need luck to grab a reservation.

1000 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

15. Ed Debevic's

159 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611
blue and white striped diner booths in the foreground in front of a yellow wall with a pink neon sign that reads “Eat at Ed’s”
Ed’s is back.
Aimee Levitt/Eater Chicago

Chicago can eat at Ed’s once more. After their longtime home in River North was razed to make way for a new development, the sometimes tacky — yet nostalgic — Ed Debevic’s searched for a new home. Owners found one in Streeterville. Find the same faux ‘50s vibe with sassy servers throwing out their retro shtick. Burgers, shakes, and breakfast return for the ride.

159 E Ohio St
Chicago, IL 60611

Related Maps

16. Cafe Trinidad ToGo

2537 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Doubles, a Trini delicacy, are featured at Cafe Trinidad ToGo, the return of a Grand Crossing restaurant that closed in 2016. The island cuisine sees many influence, including African, Syrian, and Indian — all byproducts of colonization and slavery. Powered by a Caribbean version of roti, doubles are filled with chickpeas, potatoes, or goat and lamb curry, a sweeter version than most would expect. Cafe Trinidad’s return gives Chicagoans a delicious option for this vital dish. The Reader’s Mike Sula has more.

2537 S Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

17. Dave's Hot Chicken

3643 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
A plate of spicy-looking hot chicken sandwiches
Dave’s Hot Chicken
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Sure, Chicago has dozens of great fried chicken providers. But Dave’s Hot Chicken, just across Lane Tech High School in Roscoe Village, is special. This LA-based fast-casual restaurant serves spicy chicken tenders from no heat to reaper. The tenders are tasty and plump. Students crowd the restaurant until the 10 p.m. shutter and with good reason. For its first location in the city proper, Dave’s and its celeb investors are welcome additions.

3643 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

18. CLAUDIA

1952 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
a marble bar with chairs and bottles of booze
Claudia’s bar has full service.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Claudia, the fine dining restaurant in Bucktown from chef Trevor Teich, is the culmination for years of searching for a permanent home for his pop-up. The storied space, where chefs like Stephanie Izard and Takashi Yagihashi cooked, has been revamped. The main dining room is where Teich’s playful tasting menu is served. On the first floor, toward the rear of the building, the bar sits with a range of items from lobster pot pie, dry-aged steak, and a fantastic wine list. While it’s more casual than upstairs, it doesn’t represent compromise.

1952 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

Related Maps